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Berkshire earnings drop 6.6%, miss estimates

Operating earnings for Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway fell 6.6 percent to $3.533 billion in the first quarter. That's down from $3.782 billion a year ago.

Per-share operating earnings of $2,149 fell short of the consensus estimate of $2,172 by the relatively few analysts who follow the company.

Read MoreAnalyst's unanswered Buffett questions

A drop for Berkshire's insurance operations was the biggest negative for the quarter. Profits there fell to $461 million from $901 million in the year-ago period.

Berkshire's BNSF railroad, along with its utilities and energy companies, contributed $1.176 billion to the earnings total.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The company's book value, Buffett's favored way of measuring Berkshire's performance, was $138,426 per Class A share. That's up 2.6 percent since the end of 2013.

By CNBC's Alex Crippen